To help achieve food security, reduce poverty, and stimulate economic growth among smallholder farmers in Nigeria, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has begun creating a new Country Strategic Opportunity Programme (COSOP). The IFAD Country Director for Nigeria, Mrs. Dede Ekoue, disclose this at the recent one-day National Technical Workshop in Abuja, noting that the forthcoming launch of the IFAD Country Strategic Opportunity Programme (COSOP) 2024-2029 is an essential step in the organization’s ongoing partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Highlighting the outcome of the current COSOP 2016–2023, She explained that the main objective is to promote a rural economy in which people who are targeted can experience prosperity and equal benefits from economic progress. She said about 5,144,805 people, comprising 55% women and of those 59% are young women, have benefited directly from the current COSOP. There were a total of 28 states and 6 geopolitical zones represented. Rice productivity also increased by 125% to 200%, cassava by 100% to 150%, groundnut by 21%, and maize by 135%.
Agriculture advancement and rural development will be achieved.
The present COSOP is geared towards agriculture advancement and rural development so everyone can profit from economic expansion. Nevertheless, the program has also achieved notable successes, such as the Customized digital agricultural advisory services (I.e. PAD), Commodity Alliance Forum (CAF), Good Agronomic Practices (GAPs), Agricultural Market Information Systems (AMIS), Youth Enterprise Incubator Model, Leveraged private sector investment and know-how. She contends that a COSOP is a strategy rather than a policy, and as a result, it is in line with government priorities.
In his presentation of COSOP 2024-2029, IFAD Programme Officer Mr. Joseph Nganga emphasized that smallholder farmers continue to be the program’s primary focus, stating that if this objection fails to be achieved, it will be documented that COSOP was not successful in accomplishing its goals. Similarly, Mrs. Sugra Mahmood, Deputy Director of Irrigation and Agricultural Development, Federal Ministry of Agriculture (FMARD), delivered critical policy insights on the many policies promoting the work being carried out in the agricultural sector that is essential to the IFAD mandate.
Quest to solve the food security problems fueled the initiative.
According to the National Convenor for Nigeria’s Food Systems at the Federal Ministry of Finance, National Planning, and Budget (FMFNPB), the initiative was launched in December 2020 after the Secretary General of the United Nations gave an order for all nations to examine themselves and identify the food-related problems in their respective nations in order to achieve food security by 2030. He called 2021–2030 an SDG-focused decade. Over 40 discussions resulted in 78 recommendations to improve the food system and narrative. He commended the country director for including women, youth, farmers, the private sector, government, development partners, and international entities.
Mr. Ibrahim Tanimu, Director of Planning and Policy Coordination at FMARD, stated that the expected COSOP would generate significant conversations throughout Nigeria because it is anticipated to improve livelihoods, deliver agricultural sustainability, as well as funding opportunities, all of which, at the completion, will guarantee food security in the country. In addition, he issued a call to action to the National Technical Team, urging them to begin their job without delay and ensure that poverty is alleviated, if not entirely eliminated.
Stakeholders’ and farmers’ contributions were commended.
Lastly, the country director expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, stakeholders, farmers’ organizations, target populations, the private sector, beneficiaries, and development partners. She commended everyone who came out for the workshop and urged them to prioritize focus and autonomy over everything else. People must decide what they genuinely want and remain focused since IFAD cannot accomplish everything. Among the attendees were representatives from the UNDP, UN Women, FAO, UNIC, WFP, French Development Agency, AfDB, GIZ, EU, financial institutions, and beneficiaries of IFAD-funded projects.